The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, says the Federal Government is committed to strengthening national security for the peace and prosperity of the country.

The minister made this known while giving an overview of the achievements of President Bola Tinubu administration across key sectors, since assumption of office on May 29.

Idris who addressed a World Media Conference on Thursday in Abuja, said that the security forces had recorded significant gains towards making the country more secure.

He said that President Tinubu has so far demonstrated strong commitment in addressing the problems of insecurity.

The minister stressed that Tinubu recognized the urgency of the situation, and has made the fight against insecurity a top priority of the administration.

“The Nigerian Air Force a few months ago took delivery of four new aircraft, to strengthen the fight against banditry and terrorism.

“President Tinubu is working tirelessly to ensure that our security apparatus is well-equipped, motivated, and strategically positioned to protect our nation from external and internal threats.

“Comprehensive strategies are being implemented to address the root causes of these issues and ensure a safer, more secure Nigeria.”

He also said that the government has taken steps to boost agriculture to achieve food security, unlock energy and natural resources for sustainable development.

The minister said the government was also determined to enhance infrastructure and transportation as enablers of growth, and focus on education, health and social investment.

According to him, the focus is in line with the 8-point Renewed Hope Agenda of the President.

He said that the target was to build a more just and equitable Nigeria and reform the economy to deliver sustainable inclusive growth.

“It will also accelerate diversification through industrialisation, digitisation, creative arts, manufacturing and innovation, and improve governance for effective service delivery,” Idris added.

According to him, both the 2023 Supplementary Budget of N2.1 trillion, and the 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion, were anchored on realizing the ambitious and transformative objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

He acknowledged the challenges brought about by the removal of fuel subsidy, but said the bold and strategic move was to free resources and channel it where it matters most, thereby impacting sectors, critical to national development.

Idris said this would bolster key areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, humanitarian, security and others that directly influence the well-being and prosperity of citizens

“This move is not without its challenges, but it signifies our unwavering commitment to making difficult decisions in the interest of the greater good.

“It aligns with our vision for a Nigeria that thrives on efficiency, transparency, and responsible governance.

“Fuel subsidy removal is a crucial step towards a more sustainable economic future, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that the benefits of this decision are felt by all citizens,” he added.

The minister urged Nigerians to support the administration as it takes “necessary measures to alleviate the pains being felt, and to cushion the impact of these reforms.

“These interventions are designed to serve as palliatives in the short and medium-term, while we wait to reap the long-term benefits of the reforms.”

He explained that the provisional wage increment of N35,000 monthly for six months for civil servants, was to enhance federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation.

Idris disclosed that the administration has established
an Infrastructure Support Fund for States, and is finalizing the process for Cash Transfer of N25,000 monthly to 15 million poorest and most vulnerable households in Nigeria for three months.

“Others were a presidential directive for the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains to households across the 36 states and FCT, and 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers,” the minister said.

He further stated that the Federal Government had unveiled access-to-credit programme for startups and MSMEs, providing N50 billion in Conditional Grants to one million nano-businesses across Nigeria.

“We have launched the 3MTT programme that aims to develop three million technical talents by 2025, in line with the President’s vision for making Nigeria a global hub for digital jobs.

“Still in line with the jobs agenda, we launched the National Talent Export Programme, to create one million service-export jobs over the next five years, and make Nigeria a global business outsourcing hub.

“We also launched the National Philanthropy Office: This office is established to mobilize $200 million in private investments on behalf of the Federal Government, to support MSMEs in Nigeria.”

The minister added that the partnership between the Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and Sterling Bank, was to provide a five Billion Naira single-digit-interest fund for MSMEs.

“And by January 2024, we will be rolling out the new Federal student loan programme that was announced a few months ago. There was also a presidential approval for ASUU to exit IPPIS,” Idris said.

The minister revealed that the Federal Government was working on a new national minimum wage for workers, which will come into effect in 2024.

According to him, the administration has performed excellently well in agriculture and food security, ease of doing business, reform in foreign exchange, Social Investment and Other Humanitarian Interventions.

Idris added that remarkable achievements were recorded in attracting Foreign Direct Investment, and in area of international engagements, and providing leadership to ECOWAS, among others.

On the current cash crunch, dris said the Central Bank of Nigeria was working assiduously to ensure the flow of naira notes in the economy.

“As we look ahead, let us embrace the spirit of hope and resilience. Change takes time, but every step forward is a testament to the progress we are making as a nation.

“The journey towards a better Nigeria is a collective endeavor, and your support and optimism are invaluable in this transformative process.

“Let us move into 2024 with hope in our hearts, knowing that the reforms of President Tinubu are laying the foundation for a brighter and more prosperous future for all Nigerians,” Idris said.

He also spoke on the rising cost of transportation, saying that the remedial intervention announced on the reduction of transport fares was to ease the hardship of commuters during the yuletide.

The minister said the government will move five million commuters during the yuletide at 50 per cent of the transportation fares.

He added that, all train services are free for all Nigerians traveling from Dec. 21, 2023 to Jan. 4, 2024.

“The participating road transport companies for the 50 per cent rebate include God is Good (GIG) Motors, Chisco Transport, Young Shall Grow, God Bless Ezenwa and Area Motors.

“These companies have already been contacted, because they have track records.

“The Minister of Transport is also talking to National Union of Road Transport Workers on the issue”, Idris said. (NAN)

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